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Most With Diabetes Not Exercising

Research Shows Importance of Exercise to Prevent Diabetes, Manage Symptoms
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 26, 2007 -- Exercise is among the best things people with diabetes can do to manage their disease, but most either are not getting the message or are ignoring it, a new report confirms.

Only 39% of surveyed adults with diabetes engaged in regular physical activity, compared with 58% of adults who did not have the disease, according to a report in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

And activity levels declined as risk factors for type 2 diabetes increased.

The national survey of more than 23,000 adults with diabetes, those at high risk for the disease, and people without diabetes was conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Lead researcher Elaine Morrato, MPH, DRPH, tells WebMD she was not surprised to find that those with diabetes were more sedentary than the general public. But she was surprised so few at-risk people were physically active.

“Exercise has been shown to be instrumental in preventing diabetes among people at high risk and in helping to manage symptoms in people with the disease,” she says.

Troubling Findings

Study after study has confirmed that regular exercise, combined with modest weight loss and a healthy diet, can lower type 2 diabetes risk and improve outcomes once people have the disease.

In one of the most persuasive, researchers from the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group concluded that diet and regular exercise were more effective than one of the most widely prescribed drug treatments for preventing type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association recommends 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise, at least five times a week. Prevention guidelines released by the ADA last August recommend 2.5 hours of regular physical activity a week.

People at high risk for developing diabetes should be even more physically active, depending on their ability to exercise.

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